Not much has been written about Korea, or of its people, their deeds and heroism. However, one work displayed Korean character though a biography of an ordinary missionary who turned out to be a significant personality in the history of Korea and its transformation.
The book, “A Modern Pioneer in Korea: The Life Story of Henry G. Appenzeller by William Griffis, is yet another biography that showcases heroism. The book is about sacrifice and giving up something for other people. In his story, Henry showed that it does not take much to be able to help other people and to become a hero for ordinary people. For example, it does not take to be rich, or to be a prominent person in order to affect other people’s lives.
Griffis started his discussion by giving a background about Appenzeller and Korea. In this way, the readers can recall and picture what Korea was and how Appenzeller affected the lives of the people and how he helped them change for the better.
Henry Appenzeller was a missionary for the Methodist church in Korea. As a missionary, he is able to save the lives of young people in Korea by giving them a new chance for education and serving as an inspiration for them.
There are a number of instances by which Griffis was able to show that Appenzeller is a noble man. First, he was able to preach and educate the people of Korea in six different languages. He preached about righteousness without being hindered by the various barriers like language and culture.
The book is a very inspiring record of Korean heroism, which is apart from the popular reputation of Korea being isolated from the world of heroism and humanity. The author, Griffis, did an effective narration of what seemed to be the greatest achievements and contributions of Appenzeller in the modern Korea.
What is good about his book is that Griffis was able to substantiate and provide concrete evidence for his claims pertaining to Appenzeller’s heroism. This is very important because as a biography, it should be based upon real experiences and real events in the subject’s life.
As a missionary, Appenzeller was able to affect change for the Korean people by incorporating prayers in their lives. It is never denied that Korea was one of the most mythical and mysterious nations in the Asian region, very much in touched with its culture and tradition. This, to my mind is one of the primary reasons why Korea’s growth was stagnated. Fortunately, the modern Korea has learned to be social and unashamed of its self and unafraid to consider changes.
Figuratively speaking, the work is full of picturesque words used effectively to show greatness. The author’s approach gave the biography a poetic appeal so that unlike any other biography, the work seems to have been creatively written as a real literary masterpiece.
It can also be observed that as much as the book is also about Appenzeller’s missionary works, much have been mentioned about the Gods, and religion. Although at one point, it may seem unnecessary, the approach nevertheless has been effective in relating the role of religion in Korea’s transformation and in explaining the behavior of the poe0ple, particularly of Henry Appenzeller.
In sum, the book is another archaic inspiration and recognition of Korean heroism that until today contributes to the continuous improvement of Korea and its people.
Griffis, William. A Modern Pioneer in Korea: The Life Story of Hernry G. Appenzeller. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1912.